Jalebi is a fried sweet made from maida flour, commonly prepared in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Jalebi is thought to have originated in the north of India, probably in the state of Punjab.
The Persian word for Jalebi is "Zoolbiah". It is made by deep-fried, syrup-soaked batter and shaped into a pretzel shape, rather like the American funnel cake.
Jalebis are bright orange or yellow in colour, but are also available in white.
It can be served warm or cold. It is somewhat chewy texture with a crystallized sugary exterior coating. The sugars get partly fermented which is thought to add flavour to the dish.
It is derived from jangiri. A similar sweet is "Emarti", which is red-orange in colour and sweeter in taste, made in Uttar Pradesh. Jalebis in Orissa are also sometimes made of chhena.
Jalebi is one of the most popular sweets in India and is served as the Celebration Sweet of India especially during the national holidays like Independence Day and Republic Day in the government offices, defence and other organisations.
Jalebi is similar to the sweet referred to as "Zangoola", popular in the middle east.